Milking the Sweet Spot
There are a couple steps between getting up on a surfboard and riding the wave. Before you can ditch the rope and get started on the tricks, you need to think about your body position, the board’s direction, and how to manage the sweet spot. The wave and the boat do not travel in the same direction. While the boat moves forward, the wave is continually curling away. In order for you to stay with the boat, you must point your board and your front hip in the direction of the boat. If you ski or snowboard; think of it as a constant traverse on edge across the hill. Watch the video above to see Neil demonstrate.
Get Familiar With the Sweet Spot
You can manage the sweet spot by simply adjusting your weight while on edge. Remember to keep your hips/shoulders aimed into the wave in order to maintain your edge. If they are not positioned correctly, you will be unable to keep the edge, and the board will slip out sideways down the wave.
Remember, front foot gas, back foot brake. In order to move yourself closer to the boat, shift your weight to your front foot; in order to move backwards, put weight on your back foot.
Trick Tip: The board’s response to a weight shift is delayed by a few seconds. You must anticipate the board’s movement and redistribute your weight before reaching the spot you’re aiming for.
Advancing and Pumping the Wave
By extending your surfing area outside of the sweet spot, you can learn how to advance on the boat by ‘pumping’. There are two reasons to get better at advancing: one is to save yourself from loosing the wave, and the other is to practice gaining speed to do tricks. Just like when you are on the ski hill, if you aim the tip of your board or skis down the hill you will increase your speed. You ‘pump’ forward on the wake by using a downward section of the wave to generate speed, allowing you to turn in and back up the wake to advance.
It’s important to remember that once you have initiated this momentum, you must turn the board back into the wave to keep yourself with the boat. Like in skiing or snowboarding, your speed runs out at the bottom of the hill; the wave is nowhere near as long as the hill, so you must aim the board back at the boat quickly to avoid reaching the bottom. Pointing your board downwards and then turning upwards in quick succession creates the pumping motion that will generate speed.
Trick Tip: Use the full length of your surf rope to practice moving as far back on the wave as you can. This will help to familiarize you with the feeling of catching up without having to stop the boat to turn around and pick you back up.
Silent Coach: Managing the sweet spot and surfing behind the boat (without using the rope) forces you to practice the correct body position for wake-boarding and wake skating. It will help you to rely less on your bindings and more on how to properly manage your edge control. The more you surf, the less you will have those hard wakeboard falls. And don’t worry, you won’t get close the prop; it’s virtually impossible on an inboard boat.